As Oklahoma approaches April 15, the question always arises, “Is Oklahoma a high tax state?” Two recent reports by different organizations would make the answer a resounding “no.”
MSN recently reported on its Web site using the Tax Foundation, Tax Policy Center, and others as resources, that Oklahoma ranked 45th in the nation in property taxes compared to our neighbors Texas at 15th and Kansas at 27th.
The same Web site reported that Oklahoma ranked 40th in the nation when all state and local taxes were considered. Another organization, the Alliance for Oklahoma’s Future, a nonpartisan, broad-based alliance of organizations and individuals that educates its members in the state about Oklahoma’s budgetary system, states that Oklahoma ranks 43rd in the nation for state and local taxes and that the average Texan pays more than 2.5 times as Oklahoman’s do in property taxes.
The Alliance also notes that low and moderate income Oklahomans pay a greater share of their income in state and local taxes than do upper income Oklahomans. According to its report, the bottom 3/5 of taxes payers pay $.11 of every dollar on average in state and local taxes, compared to less than $.09 of every dollar for the wealthiest 5 percent.
The reasoning is that Oklahoma relies disproportionately on the sales tax which hits low and moderate income families hardest.
The Alliance also notes that state spending has been growing less rapidly over time than the state economy due in part to Oklahoma having one of the strictest systems of constitutional tax and spending limits in the nation.
So as tax day approaches, it is good to remember that while it is never pleasant, at least in Oklahoma there is no evidence that we are a high tax state.